Thursday, 15 January 2015

Magic in Christianity - From Jesus to the Gnostics book review by Jade Moore

Magic in Christianity - From Jesus to the Gnostics  

by Robert Conner

Looking for evidence and research that the Church has ties to Magic? After reading this book I challenge anyone to argue with the ideas presented in it that Christianity is not rooted in Magic!  Yes everyone has heard the "it was stolen from the pagans" cry but to read this text presented so clearly was an absolute joy. Robert compares early Christian texts with its Pagan and Jewish counterparts and puts forward a very convincing discourse that Jesus was likely a practitioner of Magic and that the very name of Jesus itself can be, and has been, used like a magical spell to perform exorcisms and some other very interesting rites. What's in a name indeed? He tells us that Divine names have been strung together over the years creating a mishmash in a cultural cooking pot which resulted in the ideas that are prevalent today in Religion.

This fascinating text would appeal to students of magic, comparative religion and and those who want to get to the  beginnings of the Christian faith. It is an extremely well written book of extraordinary depth and clarity, and personally I have come away from reading it with a completely different perspective than I had beforehand.

I particularly enjoyed the chapter which presented the idea of the resurrection of Christ as a spectral apparition rather than a physical bodily sighting. Unlike some books in which the authors wax lyrical about their viewpoints without any references to other people's work in a similar field Robert's book has an admirable glossary from which the interested reader could investigate his ideas further. 

Is there a distinction between Magic and Religion? The core of the text that the author argues that there is no clear distinction between them and Magic is Religion for the Individual and the idea that Religion is Magic for the masses. That the Priesthood - Religious Seers, Soothsayers etc, their Odes are Songs which become incantations or spells that can enchant those under its influence.  He discusses the common place act of people being sacrificed so that their spirits may be used to carry out specific tasks.

Book review by Jade Moore 2015